Funding Circle is entering Europe

Funding CircleFunding CircleFunding Circle’s co-founders, from left, Andrew Mullinger, Samir Desai, and James Meekings.

Peer-to-peer small business lending platform Funding Circle is acquiring Germany’s Zencap, giving it an immediate footprint in Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands.

German newspaper Speigel Online first reported the deal and Funding Circle confirmed the details to Business Insider over email.

Business Insider understands that Funding Circle’s CEO Samir Desai will announce details of the deal during his keynote speech this morning at peer-to-peer industry conference LendIt Europe in London. Business Insider will be at the conference and bring you updates.

The deal brings Funding Circle into Europe for the first time. The UK company opened up in the US 2 years ago, its first foreign market.

Funding Circle is one of the UK’s highest profile financial technology, or fintech, businesses. Earlier this year it was valued at over $US1 billion (£650 million) in a $US150 million (£97 million) funding round.

Desai says in an emailed statement on Tuesday announcing the Zencap deal: “We have been hugely impressed with what the Zencap team have achieved so far. By coming together we combine Funding Circle’s leading position in the UK and US with Zencap’s deep understanding of local markets to create the first truly global marketplace lending platform.”

Business Insider highlighted that Germany was a likely market for Funding Circle to enter during a recent interview. Desai told Business Insider that Funding Circle has strong global ambitions and hopes to lend $US100 billion (£650 million) over its platform within 10 years.

Zencap is Europe’s fastest growing peer-to-peer small business lender but has only been in operation for 20 months. Speigel Online says just 520 loans have been made over the platform, worth €35 million (£25.6 million, $US39.6 million). By comparison, Funding Circle is currently lending around $US100 million (£65 million) a month over its platform.

Zencap is a product of Germany’s famous startup factory Rocket Internet. The company specialises in taking existing online business models popular elsewhere in the world and applying them to local markets.

You can read the full recent interview with Funding Circle’s Samir Desai here.

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